ALBANY, Ore. (AP) — The National Frozen Foods plant in Albany, Oregon, has shut down production because of an outbreak of COVID-19 that has sickened 10 people, Linn County Public Health announced Friday.
Of the illnesses linked to the plant, eight are workers and two are associated with those employees, The Albany Democrat-Herald reported.
The county worked with the plant to temporarily close the facility, said Linn County Sheriff’s Capt. Michelle Duncan, the county’s coronavirus pandemic spokeswoman.
Steve Schossberger, general counsel and vice president of National Frozen Foods, said the shutdown started Friday and will continue at least through the weekend. A deep cleaning of the Albany plant will be done with the oversight of Linn County Public Health, he added.
“We’ll look at opening back up on Monday, but only on automated lines. … That’s still yet to be determined,” Schossberger said.
On the automated lines, workers would be at least 20 feet (6 meters) apart, he said.
Employees will be notified by National Frozen Foods about how to receive testing and the next steps of the process.
Oregon Occupational Safety & Health is investigating workplace safety complaints regarding the coronavirus, social distancing and other safety precautions at the plant, said Michael Beranbaum, secretary-treasurer for Teamsters Local Union No. 670, which represents about 270 workers at National Frozen Foods.
He added that the investigation does not mean there are problems at the facility.
National Frozen Foods opened its Albany plant in 1982 and puts out millions of pounds of frozen produce each year.
The Albany plant processes beans, cut corn, squash, vegetable purees and cream-style corn, according to the company’s website.